Minister of Road Transport & Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari said that his government will give the highest priority to the conservation of water by creating check dams across the country. Inaugurating a two day National workshop on Regeneration of Rivers here, he said, the availability of water through conservation mode will enhance the farm productivity by three times, besides providing employment to about 50 lakh young people and fight the menace of poverty. Shri Gadkari who is also heading the Ministry of Rural Development, Panchayati Raj and Drinking Water and Sanitation has underlined the need for small projects mainly on the wasteland by extensive use of technology. The Minister said that big dams not only entail capital cost but are also mired in a number of problems like land acquisition, displacement and time-bound completion.
The Minister said, delay in execution of water projects and corruption will not be tolerated and there will be e-tendering for work order and satellite based monitoring apart from auditing and socio economic impact assessment. Favouring an integrated approach by combining ethics, economy and ecology, Shri Gadkari said that availability of water is a must for overall development of the villages and he lamented over the fact that even after 65 years of independence most of the villages in India have either no water or polluted water. He said, all efforts will be made to cleanse Indian rivers and his Ministry is already in the process of unveiling a roadmap for Ganga and Yamuna rivers. The Minister informed that in the coming years one lakh kilometres of Highways will be constructed and 200 crore tress will be planted along the roads by linking MGNREGA with the project which will yield gainful employment to about thirty lakh young people. Earlier, Shri Gadkari paid rich tributes to Shri Gopinath Munde, who had visualised the workshop on Rivers as Rural Development Minister but died in a tragic road accident in Delhi.